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Every business needs to have a social media presence because of the popularity of social media. Consider this: a whopping 37% of the world’s population (2.7 Billion and counting) have an active social media account. Especially when you consider that not everyone on the planet has access to the internet this is an overwhelming percentage of consumers.
And that’s just looking at the world population at large. Consumers in developed countries are some of the most connected, and they have lots of money to spend. This means that businesses that fail to have a significant presence on social media are missing out on a lot of potential businesses. Even worse, neglecting social media opens the door for competitors to be the only significant voice in a given market.
For every business on social media, however, there is a need to invest money and thus analyze how that money is being spent and how to improve things. This is why, according to Sprout Social, discussing the ROI of marketing campaigns is part of business as usual. A significant 63% of marketing professionals need to justify the expense of each campaign.
This is where social media analytics tools become an invaluable tool – or best friend – to marketers. As the saying goes, numbers don’t lie. And if you have command of the numbers, then it’ll be easy to show the bean counters that your marketing efforts are paying off.
How is social media analytics done?
Simply put, social media analytics is done by analyzing data provided by social networks through their APIs to understand your performance. There are many different metrics available, such as the cost per impression and the extent to which your campaign is increasing the discussion around your brand. And in most situations, quality analytics show how much it costs to get a specific, measurable result.
Once you get those raw numbers, it’s easy to match them to your KPIs. For instance, you might find that your latest influencer marketing campaign increased brand awareness by 50%, or your advertised special brought in 500 new customers. Marketers who need to justify the expenses can immediately point to these analytics as evidence of success. Likewise, analytics data help you plan future campaigns for greater effectiveness.
Why use social media analytics tools?
Simply put, the right social media analytics tools save you time and energy. You could do all of this manually by hand, but these tools will save you a ton of time and show you insights that you might not find on your own. Similarly, the data tends to be more accurate than manual numbers because it’s easy to miss something. Lines on a spreadsheet can quickly merge together and become a blur, especially when that big reporting deadline looms.
Speaking of deadlines, these tools often include reporting functions that allow you to easily and quickly create internal reports that make you shine! This means that your job will be a lot easier, at least so far as reporting is concerned. And if you need to make adjustments to your strategy then justifying them is much simpler because the supporting numbers are right there. It might even streamline your meetings! All of that is to say that social media analytics tools are valuable for us marketers.
What can social media analytics tools help you measure?
There are a host of things that social media analytics tools help you measure, and it depends on the comprehensiveness of your tool. For instance, native tools will give you very detailed information, usually including paid social results. However, they are limited to one network or only those which are owned by the same company.
Native tools are a great place to start, but in many cases, you’ll want to go further. For instance, if you have several networks to watch or your company manages multiple brands, sticking with just the native tools gets tedious fast. Most tools will give you the basic information found on the native tools, but depending on your choice there may be more functionalities.
More elaborate tools can, for example, give you automated reports that analyze information from several different sources or networks. You might find, therefore, that a particular image rubs people the wrong way everywhere it’s posted. With a comprehensive tool, you’ll see this much faster than you would analyze data by hand.
Finally, while all analytics tools tell you how YOUR posts are doing, there are situations where this might not be enough. For instance, if your competition is stiff then monitoring them may be desirable. Alternatively, if you participate in influencer marketing or otherwise benefit from user-generated content, you’ll need something more comprehensive. That’s because native tools don’t monitor other people’s accounts or listen for mentions of your brand.
With that in mind, let’s look at the different social media analytics tools you can choose from.
Native Social Media Analytics Tools
It should come as no surprise that some of the best social media analytics tools are provided from the source by the social networks themselves. Most of them provide everything you need for basic campaigns on one social network. If your social media marketing is primarily only on one network, these might be the only social media analytics tools you need to get your job done. Best of all, they’re free of charge.
This used to be a standalone tool, but now it is part of the Facebook Business Suite. These are tools that monitor things as your ad spend, social media activity (both organic and paid), and statistics on your audience. Since Instagram is part of Facebook, you’ll also get information from the other platform in your Business Suite account.
According to Instagram, the Insights feature is only available to business and creator accounts. And although Facebook Business Suite gives you Instagram information, it doesn’t go the other way with Instagram Insights. Within Instagram, you can get information about most metrics within the last 90 days, such as how many different accounts engage with your content. In addition, info is available for each piece of content, not just global stats. Best of all, you can see how people discover your profile.
If you have an advertising account on Twitter or use Twitter cards, you get access to their free analytics functions. Like most social media analytics tools, this native Twitter feature tells you the type and level of engagement you’re getting. This information comes with suggestions for improvement. You’ll also get demographic information about people that engage with your content. Finally, Twitter provides information on the performance of Twitter cards.
For business account holders, Pinterest has its own social media analytics tools. First, they’ll tell you about your overall presence and engagement from owned Pins. Second, you can get account insights, where you can learn about the ways in which people engage with your content, and what searches you show up in. At the same time, they’ll let you know what Pins have been the most effective, allowing you to build on those successes. Finally, Pinterest gives you insights into audience interests.
Google Social Media Analytics Tools
Google deserves a separate section because your website is often where the rubber meets the road vis a vis your social media marketing ROI. Thus, Google Analytics becomes a powerful tool for any marketer. This is especially true where posts are designed to increase website traffic. Furthermore, we can’t forget about Google’s own social media platform, YouTube! With that in mind, here are some more free social media analytics tools for google products.
Google Analytics is one of the most comprehensive social media analytics tools out there. For one thing, it measures traffic to your website. This means that they’ll know when a visitor was routed from any social media website. In addition, Google is known for its treasure trove of information on consumers, as well as its machine learning that enhances analytics. Finally, Google Analytics fully integrates with all their advertising products for a bigger impact.
If you have a YouTube presence, this is one of the more valuable tools in the creator studio. Once you access the analytics feature from the studio, you get a wide variety of analytics features. First, there’s the “overview” section that gives basic performance metrics. Then, the “reach” tab tells you how people discover your content. Check out “engagement” for all the info you might need on that topic. “Audience” will show you detailed information about those people and what else they’re interested in. Finally, “revenue” lets you see how much money your channel is generating.
Social Media Analytics Specific Tools
There are several tools that were created specifically for the purpose of social media analytics. Each of these tools does different things depending on your needs. For instance, not all of these social media analytics tools cover each of the major social networks. In addition, you might find specialized information for your niche or industry.
With Keyhole there are two basic “tracks” of features. The first one is a social listening tool combined with analytics. Here, you’ll not only see how your platforms are doing, but you’ll also get information on your competitors. Since Keyhole works across social networks, this info is available in one place. Metrics recorded include “sentiment analysis” and trending topics/keywords/hashtags.
The second track of information is influencer marketing. If you have an influencer program, then Keyhole analytics make tracking progress and results much easier. Not only do you get the raw numbers, but you can see exactly which influencers have the best results. This is especially valuable if you have a lot of influencers.
Pricing: Available on request
If you want to see how your rivals are doing, check out Rival IQ. They not only give you competitor analytics but reveal their strategy so you can tackle it head-on. Then, in addition to the numbers, you’ll get an actual analysis of your social media posts. Finally, you can get social media audits at the push of a button. If you are in a highly competitive niche, this is a top contender for the best social media analytics tools.
Pricing: From $239 a month
For brands that are on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter, Iconosquare is an easy-to-use tool. They advertise that their analytics are easy to understand, report, and benefit from. The information is presented in one place, so you don’t have to switch back and forth. For Facebook and Instagram, you can get industry benchmarks for comparison. Reports are automatically generated for all supported networks except LinkedIn. Finally, there’s a scheduling tool that lets you save even more time and reduce the need for more tools.
Pricing: From $49 a month
Further Reading: 11 LinkedIn Analytics to Better Measure Your LinkedIn ROI
If you want to reach the young, check out Quintly. They support both TikTok and Snapchat. You’ll get the in-depth information expected with social media analytics tools, along with automated reports. This includes competitor analytics and actionable insights to help you improve. There are different features for various industries, including agencies and media companies. Finally, if you have enterprise-level needs, their API may be useful.
Pricing: from $300 a month
Audisense stands out among social media analytics tools in three ways. First, it’s very Twitter-focused. While Audisense supports several networks, they have a marketing tool just for Twitter that’s priced separately. For that reason, if you’re big on Twitter you should check it out. Second, they have a built-in influencer discovery tool. That means if you need to hire influencers regularly then this is a great option. Finally, there’s a segmentation functionality that helps you break down your audience into types.
Pricing: from $696 a month
Sick of switching from one app or tool to another all day? Check out Cyfe, which does much more than just analytics. You can select several widgets and put them on a bulletin-board-like page to view lots of information at a glance. They have a huge number of integrations, from social media to Bing and even your web hosting service. CRMs, email, and just about anything else can be added. That’s why Cyfe is called a “business dashboard.”
Pricing: from $19 per month
Social Media Dashboards That Provide Social Media Analytics
Any list of social media analytics tools has to include the leading social media dashboards that also provide their own analytics features for their users. After all, many of us love the flexibility of putting all of our social media activity in one place. While the dashboards might get information from the native social media analytics tools, each of them has a new take on the data. In addition, you get to do many other tasks while looking at your analytics information. If you have a larger business, you should check these out.
Since Hootsuite is a complete dashboard, it has a wide variety of functionalities. What makes its analytics functions stand out, though, is the ability to integrate the data with other aspects of your social media management. For instance, you can get tailored reports for each KPI or for a particular objective. This means that much of the analysis is automated, making your life easier. Especially if you have significant paperwork to show a campaign is paying off, check out Hootsuite.
Pricing: from $49 per month
If you struggle to see the forest through the trees, then check out Sprout Social. The company prides itself on automating analytics data, then showing you the big picture. At the same time, dedicated reports help you show ROI and decide what to do next. And, unlike some competitors Sprout shows you results for the competition. Finally, they generate reports which are specific to paid campaigns, helping you maximize impact and manage to spend.
Pricing: From $89 per month
For small business owners, Buffer is one of the best social media analytics tools. Why? Because it’s open-source and was designed with you in mind. They help manage to spend by showing you how your engagement breaks down between free/organic traffic and paid-for results. You’ll also get complete analytics on your organic posts, and insight into your social media audience. This lets you fine-tune your strategy without getting loaded down in excess data.
Pricing: $5 per month, per social channel
Similar to other social media analytics tools, Agorapulse carefully tracks engagement with paid and organic posts alike. They also look at trends over time, which helps to increase performance and find trouble spots easily. Finally, Agorapulse lets you monitor each member of your team to see who is most effective, who meets your service time targets, and more. Because of the last feature, Agorapulse is a great option if you have a social media-based customer service team.
Pricing: Freemium. Paid plans are based on a number of users and social accounts.
For agencies, Sendible is among the best social media analytics tools. The app gives detailed analytics information on each social media account, and it presents the information in easy reports to enhance your client reporting. As a bonus, these reports can be sent automatically to clients at designated intervals. Meanwhile, you get the analytics information presented in a way that makes it easy for you to make recommendations for future growth, along with where you should double down.
Pricing: From $29 per month.
As you can see, there’s a huge variety of social media analytics tools. For many brands that are starting out, or who only have one or two networks to monitor, it may be enough to rely on your native network and Google analytics. However, many brands will quickly outgrow this approach and move on to more sophisticated tools which can monitor more than one place at a time. When that happens, there are many options from dedicated analytics tools all the way to dashboards with built-in analytics. But no matter what you choose, analytics will help you monitor and meet the competition while growing your reach.
Hero Photo by Chase Chappell on Unsplash
Social Media Analytics Tools FAQs
Social media analytics tools are used to collect, measure, and analyze data from social media platforms. This data can be used to track metrics such as engagement, reach, and impressions. It can also be used to understand the demographics of a social media audience, monitor competitor activity, and spot trends. There are a variety of social media analytics tools available, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. However, some of the most popular tools include Hootsuite Insights, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and Sprout Social.
Analytics tools help marketers understand how posts are performing, what Engagement Rate is, and how to improve overall social media marketing strategy. Without analytics, it would be difficult to understand which content is resonating with the audience and what kinds of campaigns are driving the most ROI. However, you have to remember that numbers themselves should not dictate what you do. Instead, use them as a guide to help you make smarter choices about your campaigns and strategy.
Social media analytics techniques help businesses and organizations track, measure, and analyze social media data to better understand their audiences and improve their marketing strategies. Common methods include collecting data from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, using sentiment analysis to gauge public opinion, and conducting social network analysis to map out relationships between users.
Data analytics is critical to the success of social media strategies. They are used to determine which content is most popular with the audience, identify user trends, and target advertisements. Through these companies are able to understand their users, identify new opportunities, and make strategic decisions about the future of their business. In simple words, data analytics is the key to understanding social media.
Here are some examples of social media analytics tools:
1. Google Analytics
2. Facebook Insights
3. Pinterest Insights
4. Twitter Insights
5. Rival IQ